Sunday, September 30, 2007

Domestification

The last few days I've been catching up on some blog reading, I saw where yarnstorm's book had been reviewed, you can read the article here.

I found this quote particlarly offensive, "The woman who did it first, and best, was right. Shirley Conran's Superwoman was a "slut's guide" to speeding through the chores and getting out to do more interesting things. If, back in the Seventies, life was too short to stuff a mushroom, then it's definitely too short to ice a cup cake now."

I am in no way Martha Stewart, I am not a Jane Brocket, but I don't feel that their pursuit of domesiticity makes me feel inadequate. I'm sure I could walk into any of your homes and feel the same sense of inadequacy. My home is as much as disaster with me being home everyday as it was when I left the house everyday to go to a job outside the home. I'm not a good housekeeper. I can have advance notice that someone is coming for a visit, I can clean nonstop for a week, and when the guests arrive I can apologise, I haven't had time to clean, so sorry, and I swear my home does not in any way look like someone has been cleaning for a whole week. I try, I'm not good at it. That does not stop me from finding Martha and Jane inspiring.

This article is insulting to anyone who pursues any kind of craft. The author seems to think that if you find joy in baking, sewing, knitting, you have too much time on your hands or you married rich.

What a crock of B.S.

I have friends that rush home from work, prepare dinner, eat, probably do a load of laundry or two and then they look forward to an hour or two in front of the tv to stitch or knit. It's relaxing. According to the author of this article they aren't doing anything interesting. My friends' lives are more organized than mine and they all manage to accomplish a lot more with a needle than I do. Their houses are also clean.

My house is so far from perfect that the light from perfect would take 10,000 light years to reach it. It's just that bad. I'm doing better, I try to embrace the joys of the small things, scrubbing a toilet, vacuuming up mountians of animal hair, cleaning baseboards, but the big things seems to take over.

For example, just the other day the middle son forgot to jiggle the handle on the toilet. The toilet ran and ran, the bathroom, the hallway and part of my bedroom flooded. It took two days with a shopvac to get it close to dry. It took a whole can of carpet fresh to get the funky wet carpet, ooops a cat must of peed here smell, out of the house. Who has time to make the kitchen sink sparkle or get the pile of crap off the desk when you are gooshing your way down a wet hallway? You're probably wondering, why not just call those people that come in and dry out your carpets for you? What SAHM wants to spend household money on that? So I shopvac for two days. I'm a SAHM, I have nothing but time anyway right? Should I mention here that this happened at the same time as the most important deadline of my entire life? I may be SAHM but the last few months I've been pursuing a dream or two so not all my neglectful housewifieness is all about leisurely crafty pursuits.

Now that you all see that I suck at housekeeping, I have to say that while a well kept house is something to be proud of what in the world do women do when it's all done if they don't have a creative outlet? Why does the author of this article believe that a little time spent making jam is ridiculous? Why is knitting a scarf a waste of time? Would it be better to waste that time just watching tv? Truthfully, if I'm not working on a needlework project of some kind while watching tv I fall asleep.

I don't like her tone when she talks about the projects that Jane Brocket has completed over the last year. She has obviously checked out her blog as the Quince article was a recent one. I am in awe of people that do several things well, and I'm sure Jane would pursue her love of craft whether she married well or not. I've created some kind of needlework as far back as I can remember. Money is always an issue for me but unless I really need new shoes I always opt to spend the money on my hobbies instead of the necessities unless I really, really need the necessities which, come to think of it, the puppy ate three pair of my good shoes so I'll have to replace those this winter but only when I can no longer make it with just my flipflops. I do have my priorities! I aspire to be Jane. I think she's wonderful, she's creative, she bakes, the pictures I've seen of her home are lovely. Maybe one day that will be me.

I find that there really are two kinds of women. There are women who find a joy, a love, a passion for creating a plethora of things from baking, to knitting, to needlework, to crocheting, to painting, to photography. It's called creativity. Then there are women, like the author of this article, who apparently have no understanding whatsoever for the pleasure of handwork, for the time spent baking a cake, people who are creatively frigid. Those people, for whatever reason, like to belittle those of use that pursue a love for handwork. I think and this is just my opinion, they really believe they are smarter than those of us that have a creative outlet related to the needlearts or baking. I throw baking in there because she seemed to think that baking a pineapple upside down cake was something extraordinary that only some freakish being would do.

I find it sad that she had nothing positive to say about Jane's book. Why did she have to attempt to tear her(Jane) apart? I don't get it. I'll say it again, I found the article insulting to anyone who chooses to make their own clothes, cook their own food, and who loves any or all forms of needlework. It reminds me of something I read years ago about the early days of the feminist movement and how the feminists hated that women still did needlepoint and crewel and knitted because they thought it set them back a hundred years when feminism should mean that we as women could all do our own thing and be accepting of each other and our choices.

In the article she asks the reader if Jane's life resembles their's and then points out that it doesn't resemble her life or any women she knows. I don't understand her point. My life doesn't resemble Martha Stewart's or Jane Brocket's so what? I'm not sure what point the author is trying to make. Is she saying that no other women on earth make quilts, make jam, bake cakes? Is she saying that Jane Brocket is the only woman knitting, baking, finding joy in keeping house? You have got to be kidding me. I realize I don't get out enough but just from Googling craft blogs I think that the people that don't have a creative outlet, that don't take pleasure in their homes, is more the exception than the norm. HGTV, the Food Network, and DIY would not be as successful as they are without all of us looking for the next home project, the next decorating project, the next crafty pursuit, the next new recipe to try.

I do realize that this article is more about the issue of having it all, working women and pursuing the dream of the perfect house and still being able to knit socks, it's an ideal and the author doesn't seem to believe anyone can meet that ideal or should they want to. Hasn't the issue of having it all been beaten to death? Haven't most women figured out their own definition of having it all and are making the best of it? I accept that my house is a wreck, I do the best I can and I find a lot more pleasure in stitching than I do in scrubbing the toilet. I admit it. I'll choose stitching over housework any day of the week and personally I believe I'm a lot more interesting because of that.

*Ok so we all know that I am not Martha Stewart not even on the same planet as her and we also know that it infuriates me that someone believes I'm not worthy because I love creating something with my hands when time allows instead of, I don't know, skydiving? So now on to

What I've Been Doing:



Once again my lack of photography skills amazes me. Above you see my inprogress Fatbottom bags. The one with the pink and brown fabric is Red Heart Coffee, then there's the orchid one with pink lining which will be my practice bag and then one in a shade of red that I can't recall the name of the color.



What do you think of the Spongebob Stitchmarkers? Okay they are shoe charms I purchased at Target. But they work nicely as stitchmarkers.


Let the Christmas stitching begin. There are several ornaments in here I plan to stitch. This is one of the better ornament issues in my humble opinion.



I've been reading The Heroin Diaries by Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue. Whatever your opinion of metal or Motley or Nikki Sixx this book is worth reading. It's a look deep in the heart of addiction. Some parts of it have made me sick to my stomach, some made me angry. Sure it's full of self loathing, whining, general jerkishness, but that's what journals are and for Nikki Sixx to make this public, to let people in on this very dark side of his life, very brave. Other people that knew him at the time also commented on entries, filled in some blanks.
For the first time in a few weeks I plan to stitch the afternoon away. I'm looking forward to it. After the stress of last week, major deadline, insane teens, I may spend every morning next week at the beach. I wonder if Ms. Hunt would approve?

*I realize the above rant is all over the place and rambling but that article really made me mad on so many different levels!

5 comments:

Cindy said...

I would much rather stitch than clean the house :)

I haven't read the Nikki Sixx book, but I'm sure that I will at some point. I've read The Dirt and made it about halfway through Tommyland so far.

KsMaryLou said...

I'd say Liz Hunt is one angry woman. Wanna bet she really suffers from jealousy. Years ago my Mother was upset when I cut my hand quite badly. Her worry was what had happened to my beautiful hands. Sheesh, get a grip Mom! Anyway, as I told her I'd rather be known for the beautiful things I'd made with my hands than beautiful hands that had made nothing. Having it all doesn't mean going to a craft fair or farmer's market and buying something that I could have made myself and received much joy and satisfaction from doing. Some of us stay at home bacause we want to, and some are more domestic than others and do all sorts of stuff that could even put Martha to shame, but believe me I'm not one of those gals. Some of us are also fortunate to have husbands who would prefer we be SAHM's even if it is a monetary hardship at times because the trade off isn't worth our going out into the daily "working" world. I thought "women's lib" gave us the choice to work outside the home or be SAHMs without apologizing to anyone.........silly me.

Sue said...

Where is that Liz Hunt wench?! She's going down! I happen to love my mother's pineapple upsidedown cake. It's almost like these femi-nazi types share the same irrational fear as homophobics. Sheesh! The woman's movement was all about having a CHOICE for pete's sake. But I'm repeating ksmarylou. Really Liz, us girls should stick together, so don't you go there, missy!

Ok, enough. Looks like you got those FBB's crocheted up! Can't wait to see the whole bag put together. :o)

Michelle said...

Amen to that, sister! I agree that I am no Martha Stewart (and probably few of us are), but the amount of blogs I read where women are baking, cooking, decorating, crafting and STILL HAVING A LIFE are too many to count. Thanks for this post! I used to have such a crush on Nikki Sixx btw.

Meari said...

I enjoyed your post, Melissa. I'm no Martha Stewart or Betty Crocker either. I do find it odd when others bash others for their domestic goddess abilities. I have mine because my mother worked 2nd shift and as the oldest, I HAD to learn how to cook, clean, etc. Both my mother and paternal grandmother knitted and crocheted. My mother sewed. I learned all these things from a very young age. In addition, I am college educated and work full time. Have always worked since I was 18. In addition, I keep my house. I also do yardwork and gardening. Having it all is not that much fun. The few hours I have left over at the end of a day or even a week I spend stitching or doing photography. I have to have my creativity. :) Most people don't "get" stitching. Too bad for them. They like pretty pictures, but again don't understand the thought and talent that goes into making a nice photograph. Both are devalued tremendously. I think it's sad.